Root Ball Information – Where Is The Root Ball On A Plant Or Tree?

The root ball is the part of a tree or plant where roots grow out from the trunk. Usually, it’s located at the base of a tree and is formed when water seeps into the soil through cracks in the ground. Water eventually drains away leaving behind a hollow space filled with roots. Roots are usually found growing out from these spaces called “rootlets”.

In some cases, the roots may extend outside of the tree but they don’t form a complete circle around it. If so, then the tree isn’t considered to have a true root ball. In other words, there are no roots growing out from inside the tree and if the tree doesn’t have any branches that branch off into another area, then it probably does not have a true root ball.

If the tree has a hole in its trunk, then it likely doesn’t have a true root ball because the holes do not allow water to drain away. Instead, they create openings that allow air to enter and oxygen to leave. Air and moisture are both needed for plants to survive so trees without proper drainage will die.

When a tree is planted in the ground, it needs to be watered regularly. For this reason, the hole that is dug for it should be bigger than the root ball. If the hole is smaller than the root ball, then soil will dry out more quickly because water will seep away.

This means you can expect trees to have larger root zones than expected. When you buy a potted tree or shrub, the planter that it’s in may or may not include a root ball. This depends on how it was grown. It’s possible for the root ball to be made by filling the planter with a growing medium like soil.

This is then molded into the shape of a circle and the tree is planted right in the center of it.

The alternative is to buy a plant that’s already in a pot. The soil may or may not have been replaced with another growing medium. In either case, it’s important that the root ball be at the right depth or the roots won’t get enough water and the top of the plant will be too high.

Here’s how to know if your tree’s root ball is in the right place:

The first step is to dig a hole that’s at least one size larger than the root ball. If you’re planting a small tree, then this can be as large as a garbage can.

Sources & references used in this article:

Tree root ball wrapping apparatus and method of using same by WP Westrate – US Patent 7,353,635, 2008 – Google Patents

Reusable pot for receiving a tree root ball and facilitating transport, handling and planting thereof by FL Johnson – US Patent 5,359,809, 1994 – Google Patents

Root growth of red maple following planting from containers by EF Gilman, ME Kane – HortScience, 1990 – journals.ashs.org

Root ball basket by PJ Smith – US Patent 5,025,590, 1991 – Google Patents

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